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My Prediction for Tonight’s National Championship Game

It all comes down to this, college hockey fans. Against my predictions, the number one overall seed Quinnipiac University Bobcats and this year’s Cinderella, 15 seed Yale Bulldogs advanced with wins in the Frozen Four on Thursday night. Yale pulled off their third major upset of the tournament with a 3-2 overtime win over UMass-Lowell, while the Bobcats advanced with an impressive 4-1 win over St. Cloud State, in which Quinnipiac shut down the nation’s second ranked offense.  Joey Benik, who will likely be called the tournament’s most valuable player, scored the only goal for the Huskies, while Hobey Baker finalist Eric Hartzell made 33 saves for the Bobcats. This sets up an all-ECAC national title game, guaranteeing the first championship for the conference since Harvard did it in 1989.

It goes without saying that tonight’s game will likely be the most entertaining game of the entire tournament. Usually games in the national tournament feature teams in different conferences, but the familiarity of tonight’s game will take away some of the “chess match” that sometimes defines some games in the tournament, in which teams feel each other out to find their strengths and weaknesses early on. The difference in this game is that these two teams know each other very well. They have already met three times this season, and Quinnipiac has won all three games; 6-2 at Yale on February 2, 4-1 at Quinnipiac on February 22, and 3-0 in the ECAC third place game at a neutral site on March 23.

Eric Hartzell has the Bulldogs’ number in this matchup, with thirty saves in each of the three previous games, and posting a .968 save percentage in three games. At the other end of the ice, Yale has been unable to keep the puck out of their own net against the Bobcats, allowing 4.33 goals per game in the three games. Not only are the Bobcats scoring at will against Yale, but they are getting goals from up and down their lineup. The thirteen goals scored have been netted by ten different players for Quinnipiac. Saying that they may score a lot of goals tonight may or may not be a bit of an understatement.

The only chance I think Yale really has tonight is that they are the Cinderella team and that they know they have nothing to lose in this game. No one (myself included) has given them any sort of chance right from the beginning of the tournament, and the fact that they even made it this far is a feat in and of itself. I keep saying that Yale’s improbable run will come to an end, but it just hasn’t happened so far. Tonight, however, I truly believe will be the end of the road for the Bulldogs. I have chosen against Quinnipiac twice in this tournament, but as they have proven to me, they are truly the best team in the nation, and they will prove that tonight by beating the Yale Bulldogs to win their first national championship. Quinnipiac wins 4-2.

I will be back next week to sum up the national championship game as well as the entire tournament as a whole. I will look back at some of the highlights, memorable moments, and important storylines. Until then, enjoy the game, and as always, expect the unexpected.

Posted by on April 13, 2013. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.